Nobody like to see their beloved dog growing old but there comes a time in every dogs life when their joints will start to get stiff and they will find it more difficult getting up and walking around.

Your vet may be able to help by prescribing medication to address the situation, but there are some things that you can do yourself which may help to improve your dog’s mobility:

1. Feed your dog an appropriate food – if your dog is getting old then it should be on a senior dog food. For small breed dogs this can be from about 8-9 years old, but for large and giant breeds a senior food should be fed from as early as 5 years old.

Good quality senior foods will have added glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep joints healthy and keep your dog on the move. Such a food will also help your dog control its weight as it gets older which is essential because being overweight will increase the chances of your dog developing joint problems.

2. Short, frequent walks – as your dog gets older it will benefit from being taken for a greater number of short walks rather than fewer very long ones. You may have got into the habit of taking your dog out for a long 2 hour walk every morning but take a look at how your dog is doing towards the end and when you get home. If they look stiff and uncomfortable it may be time to cut down the distance you walk in any one go.

3. Try some joint supplements – just as health shops sell joint care products for the owner, pet shops sell joint care products for their dogs. There are many on the market in the form of tablets, liquids and various treats too. Ask at you local pet store for advice or look at online forums for recommendations.

Persist with the supplements because it’s very easy to see an improvement and forget about the underlying problem. Maintaining the correct dosage will help your dog’s mobility in the long run.

4. Try some hydrotherapy – there are lots of places you can find doggie hydrotherapy pools so check your local directory or search online for your nearest.

Swimming helps to exercise the dog’s joints and can really help to improve your dog’s mobility. As with human hydrotherapy, being in a pool reduces the effects of gravity and allows the joints to move freely without the same impact stresses that walking or running enduce.

5. Make sure your dog has a comfortable bed – if your dog sleeps on a thin bed, it may not have enough support for its body when sleeping. On the flip side, if they have a very big fluffy cushion then they may struggle to easily get on and off the bed. A reasonably firm, well padded bed is generally best as your dog can get onto it easily and it should offer full support for your dog’s weight.

You can never completely prevent or treat stiff joints as it is simply a symptom of old age but as an owner you can use these 5 tips to minimize any discomfort felt by your dog.

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As a dog owner himself, Percy Jackson knows all too well the difficulty that comes from watching a dog grow old but he insists that there are things you can do as owners to make them as comfortable as possible. Other than promoting joint health of course, one such idea is to buy a dog ramp to assist your dog in getting in and out of the boot of your car.

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